Why Ant-Man will be more important than you think in Endgame

The first trailer for the next Avengers movie has arrived, and it brings a host of new revelations, questions, and (at last) a title: Endgame. In the long run, once the dust settles, this brief two-and-a-half-minute trailer is probably going to end up adding more fuel to the fire of the internet rumor mills, but for now it's helped to finally quell a few of the really basic questions we've been waiting to have answered.

One thing we've all been wondering is what role, if any, Ant-Man will play in all of this. After all, the little guy didn't show up in Infinity War. Instead, he was simply written out of the film via Natasha Romanoff's quick comment that he and Clint Barton were both under house arrest after the events of Civil War. But then Ant-Man and the Wasp caught us up with Scott Lang, who, it turns out, was stuck in the Quantum Realm during the cataclysmic finger snap. With these two movies and the new trailer now at our disposal, let's break out our microscopes for a close look at how things seem to be shaping up for Ant-Man in Avengers: Endgame.

Missing, presumed dead

Infinity War already assembled a staggering cast of characters, but Endgame will finally mark Scott Lang's entrance to the two-part arc. He's been busy at home, honing his drum skills and building sweet cardboard slides with his daughter. The end of his house arrest was marked not by a reunion with the Avengers, but by a desperate quest to rescue Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm and stop some dangerous tech from falling into the wrong hands. It's no wonder he was too busy to show up for Infinity War's many confrontations in New York, Wakanda, and outer space.

The end credit scene for Ant-Man and the Wasp showed us that Lang was caught in the Quantum Realm when half of humanity was whisked away (including, seemingly, the only people who could get him out), making him one of the less fortunate among the survivors. The Endgame trailer shows us Bruce Banner looking at images of Lang, Peter Parker, and even Shuri, all of whom were not "in plain sight" when the snap took place. The scene seems to imply that thanks to Lang's miniature predicament, the survivors think he, too, disintegrated with the others. That, combined with the last scene in the trailer, where Steve Rogers sees Lang show up at the front door of the Avengers HQ facility, would make Lang's survival not just a happy relief, but very likely an integral part of the plot.

Soaking up screen time

When you spend a seventh of an entire trailer — and that of a movie as astronomically huge as this will be, no less — showing Ant-Man on a security camera, chances are that the folks at Marvel are hinting at something. Lang is going to be important, for sure, but the lengthy, humorous scene may also indicate that the film is going to spend no small amount of screen time revealing just how Lang fits into everything.

If Infinity War taught us anything about what to expect from the pace of Endgame, it's that a crossover of this magnitude can't slow down much for anyone, particularly for a scene is focused on one character. Thor received a good amount of focus, but that's because he ended up wielding the only weapon that could genuinely hurt Thanos. Tony Stark had a lot of screen time, but he ended up being far more involved in moving the story forward than practically anyone else. On the other hand, there was no time for character beats like a potential Cap-Iron Man reunion. The point here is that if a character gets a lot of screen time in an Avengers film, especially unhurried screen time, chances are they're a critical element of the story in one way or another.

He's got Quantum experience

If you've seen the Ant-Man movies, particularly Ant-Man and the Wasp, it's no surprise that Scott Lang is familiar with the Quantum Realm at this point. He's traveled through it more than once, and by the end of his second solo movie, he's even comfortable going in and out of it on a regular basis. But then he gets stuck down there, with the only people around that could get him out (or even know where he is in the first place) literally no longer in existence.

While the new trailer doesn't show us anything about how he gets out, we do see him show up at full size, asking to be buzzed in at the gates of the Avengers complex. While this at least confirms that he does get out of the Quantum Realm somehow, the head-scratcher that we're left with is how he'll get out. We're talking about a feat that the much more accomplished Janet van Dyne couldn't accomplish, even with years to figure it out. If history tells us anything, it's that when a van Dyne is scientifically stumped, there's little chance that looking to Lang is going to solve the problem. 

And yet, there he stands, free and clear. Could the information he learns about getting out of the Quantum Realm on his own be a critical factor in the events of Endgame? It's a distinct possibility.

Time travel will almost certainly be critical

The reason that Lang's knowledge of the Quantum Realm would be important in the first place is that, for a long while now, it's been theorized that time travel will be a factor in undoing the last moments of Infinity War. Of course, the Russo Brothers have made it clear that the MCU hasn't built up a ten-year, 20-movie universe just to have their heroes quickly crank back the clock and save the day.

There are going to be casualties here, regardless of what happens, but that doesn't take away the fact that time travel could still be pivotal in the toppling of Thanos and the undoing of the damage wrought by the Infinity Gauntlet. Of course, if time travel is going to be a factor at play, the ability to enter and leave the Quantum Realm — a place where it's been made fairly clear by now that time travel is possible — will become a really nifty skill to possess. And with Lang possessing said skill, it could make him a key figure in whatever plans Cap and the team cook up.

Proximity to knowledge

Flying in and out of the Quantum Realm is cool and all, but at the end of the day, Scott Lang is little more than a pawn, right? It was Hank Pym who built the suit, developed the technology, and taught Lang how to use it. Janet van Dyne, meanwhile, went subatomic and explored the possibilities before anyone else. And now, both of them are gone.

In many ways, the loss of Pym is as devastating a blow to the Avengers' hopes on a scientific level as the loss of Nick Fury is on a logistical one. Fury was the one who gathered Earth's Mightiest Heroes together and armed them with necessary information, while Pym was the key to technology that bordered on magic. With both of them gone, it leaves those who were closest to them to carry forward their knowledge. Lang has been rubbing elbows with Hank Pym for a while now, and he may be the only source of quantum knowledge out there at this point. If that's the case, it could make him the foremost authority available on the Quantum Realm, and thus make him utterly indispensable.

Equipment

Another crucial part of the whole Quantum Realm time travel idea is the equipment involved. You don't just tap your heels together and wish you were there. It takes a massive array of specially-made suits, fancy buttons and levers, and a lab that (even in the back of a van) looks rather intimidating to run. With the absence of the Pym family, Ant-Man will likely be in sole possession of these valuable items. That makes him the brand new owner of a tool that could be just as important in the fight against Thanos as Thor's mighty new Stormbreaker.

That's another thing that makes Scott's arrival in the new trailer significant. While he stands in front of the gates asking to be let in, we can see what appears to be the same van that we saw in the end credit scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp parked behind him. The arrival of Lang with this equipment in tow is bound to be an essential part of the story arc.

He's been seen around the set

Story clues aside, there's another reason that we can already assume Ant-Man is going to be quite a bit more important in Endgame than we might have expected: Paul Rudd has already been seen in leaked photos on the set. Not only that, but he was seen in the middle of shooting what appears to be a strangely familiar battle scene. The conflict in question? The Battle of New York from the first Avengers movie.

Come again? That's right. The photos seem to hint at a scene in the upcoming movie that will find Steve Rogers in his original suit (from the past?), next to an older-looking Tony Stark (from the future?), with Ant-Man beside them. Whether the latter two are in an alternate reality or have, as many suspect, traveled back through the Quantum Realm, the scene clearly demonstrates that Lang will be front and center in the truly epic twists and turns that Endgame is sure to take as it unfolds.

Healing the Civil War wounds

So, it seems that Steve Rogers and Tony Stark will indeed breathe the same air together once more. Will Scott Lang be involved in bringing about the long-awaited reunion between the two Avengers? With Chris Evans seemingly out of the MCU for good after Endgame, we know that bringing the two heroes together can't be put off for much longer. We also know that the filmmakers tried to get the two back together in Infinity War, but it had to be dropped.

With a reconciliation looming large, though, it's starting to look like none other than the unassuming Scott Lang may be behind Rogers and Stark finally burying the hatchet. How so? Well, before the new trailer dropped, we had already seen the leaked photos from the set, giving us a clear indication that Lang and Stark will at some point be teamed up together and very likely traveling through the Quantum Realm in the process. But the new trailer has now imparted the important bit of knowledge that Lang initially goes not to Stark but to Rogers. It'll take quite a bit of hoop jumping to avoid bringing the Civil War reunion about without Lang somehow, no doubt awkwardly, being involved in the scene.

Big versus small

One of the great things about Ant-Man is that he's pretty unassuming. Contrasted against the heavy-hitting bravura of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk, Lang seems pretty tame. And yet, how many times have we watched full-grown men go flying twenty feet through the air after a little toe-tapping kick from the dinky daredevil? When Endgame rolls into theaters, Thanos still will have little to no knowledge that Ant-Man even exists — especially with the Quantum Realm essentially functioning as an alternate dimension.

We've speculated before that Thanos' apparently "easy" victory over the Hulk probably helped to lower the Mad Titan's opinion of the big guy as a threat. That could play right into the Avengers' hands if and when the green machine shows up in Endgame. The same concept goes for Ant-Man as well — Thanos probably doesn't know who he is, and even if he did, a hero whose main power is to get smaller doesn't initially seem all that intimidating, which could make Lang the perfect candidate for a timely surprise of some sort or another in the coming struggle.

A third-party perspective

Sure, we know that Lang lost the Pyms (and maybe more friends and family) in the fateful finger snap. Consider, though, that his absence from the actual conflict of Infinity War means he won't be struggling with memories of the devastating defeat at the hands of Thanos. He could bring a fresh take to the question of how the Avengers can possibly carry on. He doesn't have the same anger and frustration brewing, and he just might be the level-headed counsel that everyone else needs.

It's no secret, after all, that Infinity War left us with all of the original Avengers intact, and they seem destined for a final, epic battle together. But the addition of Lang, less burdened with baggage than the rest, brings an outside perspective that could be exactly what the doctor ordered to help keep emotions stable and plans on point. His could be that incredibly valuable third-party opinion that will temper any rash actions that would otherwise upset the best-laid plans (lookin' at you, Star-Lord).

Comic relief

At the end of the day, no matter how bad the stakes get, we're talking about Ant-Man here. Paul Rudd radiates humor, and the MCU Scott Lang persona has been crafted to accommodate this. The results have been one of Marvel's chief sources of unrestricted comic relief regardless of the situation, which is precisely why the Ant-Man movies have been so lighthearted.

Having such an effortlessly funny character involved in a story like Endgame may be an even greater relief than we imagined. Infinity War was already an intense ride, even with the Guardians' attitudes, Tony Stark's sharp tongue, and Peter Parker's charming banter helping to relieve the tension. But now, most of those characters are either out of the picture or in no mood for quips, and it may fall to Mr. Lang to bail out the tone with some quick wit and humor, very likely to the relief of us all.

Placement in the trailer

Finally, we have an easily-overlooked little conclusion that supports the importance of Ant-Man in Endgame — the fact that the trailer ends with him front and center. If Lang was just another pawn on the chessboard keeping the game in motion, Marvel probably would have just popped in a split second shot of him on the security camera in front of the Avengers' HQ. 

But instead, they not only devoted plenty of time to his appearance, they put it at the trailer's end, in a place of cinematic honor. The end of a good trailer should serve as a powerful, attention-grabbing cliffhanger, where a movie's advertisers drop an idea they want to leave you pondering while you wait for the final product. It's usually in these final moments that trailers tip their hand as they try to leave a trail of breadcrumbs that will guide people straight to the theater on opening night. Did it work? We know we'll be there.